Update: THAI MILITARY CHANNEL 5 SAYS MARTIAL LAW `NOT A COUP'. Ah, gotta love the New Normal: full of non-coupy martial laws.
This is how in Thailand people are told to keep calm and keep BTFD:
URGENT: Thai troops seize TV broadcaster after declaring martial law; ticker message on screen reads "no need to worry"— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) May 19, 2014
Thailand's army declared martial law on Tuesday to restore order after six months of anti-government protests which have left the country without a functioning government.
The declaration did not constitute a coup and was made in response to deteriorating security, an army general said.
"We declared a state of emergency, it's not a coup. Because of the situation, it's not stable, they kill each other every day," a general, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
Troops were patrolling in Bangkok and had secured television stations, he said.
"We need cooperation from them to announce to the people 'do not panic, this is not a coup'," the general said.
Thailand has been stuck in political limbo since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers were dismissed on May 7 after a court found them guilty of abuse of power.
The crisis, the latest instalment of a near-decade-long power struggle between ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, and the royalist establishment, has brought the country to the brink of recession.
In other news, don't call this man, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army and Chairman of Army United Football Club, the new "president" just yet. He first needs the CIA's blessing.
* * *
With Russia amassing troops on the border with Ukraine, China doing the same with Vietnam, the already volatile situation in Libya and Syria imploding with every passing day, the only geopolitical variable that was missing was a martial law and/or sovereign coup. Moments ago Thailand just declares the former and while the latter is still absent it too is likely just a moment of time. AP reports that "Thailand's army has declared martial law after six months of anti-government protests and political crisis, Associated Press said on Tuesday, citing an army statement issued in Bangkok." In other words, after not sternly not taking sides in the near civil war situation in Thailand for the longest time, the army finally picked a side: its own.
More from Bloomberg:
Martial law imposed nationwide with army commander Prayuth Chan-Ocha as head of a new peacekeeping center, Nation TV reports on website, citing statement from military.
Martial law imposed after political demonstrations led to deaths and property damage: report
Prayuth to have live TV address at 6am local time
Which naturally is good for stocks: all day today equity futures were very confused about what bad news to use a springboard to new, all time highs. Now, the road ahead is clear.
Several more reports from the ground:
There is apparently going to be an announcement soon on national TV which will hopefully clear up any confusion of whose in charge #Thailand— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) May 19, 2014
6am So far Thai TV is as normal despite the presence of soldiers. During the last coup they showed newsreels of the Royal family #Thailand— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) May 19, 2014
AP at 6am: “It was not immediately clear whether a coup d’etat was underway” #Thailand— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) May 19, 2014